State of Nebraska - Genealogy Trails






Honored Offical Positions




Phineas W. Hitchcock 

Thomas W. Tipton  

Algernon Sidney Paddock

Alvin Saunders

Charles F. Manderson 

Charles H. Van Wyck

James Laird

Hon. T. M. Marquette

Hon. Lorenzo Crounse

Hon. John A. McShane

Hon. William J. Connell

Hon. Gilbert Lafayette Laws

Hon. George W. E. Dorsey

Jolm M. Thurston

Hon. 0. P. Mason

J. Sterling Morton

Hon. Amasa Cobb

George B. Lake







Phineas W. Hitchcock 

Deceased, was born November 30, 1831. His father was a farmer near New Lebanon, Columbia County, New York where the subject of our sketch was born.


He spent two years at school in Barrington, Massassuchets, and when twenty years of age he entered Williams College.


Four years later Mr. Hitchcock graduated from that institution, and after several years of combined law study and journalistic work in the State of New York, he came to the Territory of Nebraska in the spring of 1857.


He at once opened a law office at Omaha, combining with the practice of his profession an agency for several insurance companies, and a general real estate business.


He was elected to the Republican Convention in Chicago, which, in 1860, nominated Abraham Lincoln, and from the first voted for Lincoln.


In the winter of 1860-1861 he went to Washington to secure from Mr. Lincoln the appointment of secretary of the Territory of Nebraska.


Meeting with J. Sterling Morton, the occupant of that position, he visited with him at the latter's old home at Detroit, Michifan,  where he became acquainted with Zach. Chander and other prominent Republicans, who supported him in his application.


He received the appointment of marshal instead of secretary of Nebraska, which office he held until 1864.  He was then nominated for Territorial delegate to the XXXIXth Congress.


On the admission of Nebraska as a State he was elected surveyor general. He was elected to the United Sltates Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1871. He was remarkably successful in the passage of a large number of bills of great importance to the undeveloped West.


 He originated a number of laws relative to timber culture, of Indian legislation, and of the acts admitting Colorado as a State.


He belonged to the stalwart wing of the Republican party.


His death occurred at Omaha, Neb-, July 10, 1881.



Thomas W. Tipton  

Was born August 5, 1817, near Cadiz, Ohio.


He was a student in Alleghany College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Madison College, Pennsylvania, in 1840.


In 1849 he was appointed to a position in the United States Land Office, resigning in 1852.


He was admitted to the bar in 1844, and began practicing law in McConnellsville, Ohio, in 1853.


 In 1856 he received authority to preach in tie Methodist Episcopal Church, but preferring the Congregational Church, changed his church relation.


In Brownville, Nebraska. he served a small Congregational Church organization, for one year, as pastor, and was elected chaplain of the First Nebraska Infantry in July, 1861, in which capacity he served until the end of the war.


In 1845 he was a member of the Legislature in Ohio; in 1839 was elected to a constitutional convention in Nebraska, and in 1860 was a member of the Territorial Senate.


In 1865, in July, he was appointed assessor of internal revenue for Nebraska.


He entered Congress on March 4, 1867, drawing a term as United States Senator.


In 1869 he was reelected for a full term of six years.


In 1872 he left the dominant political party and supported Horace Greeley for president.    Since that time he has supported the principles of the Democratic party, by which he was nominated, in 1880, as a candidate for governor of Nebraska.


In reply to an interrogation as to the reason of his acceptance of the nomination:


“I did it in order to try and keep the Republican majority down to 25,000.”


He was elected governor of the State of Nebraska, and in 1888 was reelected to that high office, being the present incumbent.


 Algernon Sidney Paddock

Was born at Glens Falls, New York, November 5. 1830.


He entered Glens Falls Academy in his thirteenth year, remaining until his eighteenth year, when he entered Union College.  Here he remained up to his senior year, when he left and went to Detroit, Michigan, but returned to New York after an absence of three months, and began teaching school and studying law mean while.


In May. 1857, he came to Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, where he preempted a farm and settled.


In 1872 he removed to Beatrice, Gage County, where he has since resided.


During 1858-59 he was engaged on editorial work on the Omaha Republican.


In 1860 he was a delegate to the National Republican convention in Chicago that nominated Lincoln, and the same fall stumped New York for that ticket.


He assumed the position of secretary for Nebraska April 1, 1861.


In 1864 Mr. Paddock was delegate to the National convention at Baltimore.


Was defeated for the United States Senate in 1867.


In 1868 he was nominated governor of Wyoming, but declined.


 In 1874 was elected to the United States Senate, serving in that capacity six years.


Mr. Paddock was again a candidate for that office in 1880-81, but was defeated by C. H. Van Wyck.


 In 1886 be was again re-elected to the Senate, and is the present incumbent.


Alvin Saunders

Was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, on July 12, 1817.


At the age of twelve his parents removed to Springfield, Illinois, where they remained until he was nineteen.


In 1836 he went to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, to engage in mercantile business.  He was appointed first postmaster at Mount Pleasant.


 In 1846 he was elected to the State constitutional convention, which formed the constitution under which Iowa was admitted into the Union as a State


He was elected to the State Senate in 1854, and re-elected in 1858.  He served as delegate to the first Iowa Republican State convention, and also to the Chicago convention in 1860, where he voted for Lincoln.


He was appointed governor of Nebraska in 1861, and served in that capacity until Nebraska was admitted into the Union as a State, six years later


He was an earnest advocate of the Union Pacific Railroad.


In 1868 he went as delegate to the Republican National convention at Chicago.


In 1876-77 he was elected United States Senator.


He has, for many years, been identified with the banking interests of Omaha.


Charles F. Manderson  

Was born in Philadelphia February 9, 1838, where he lived until nineteen years of age, when he removed to Canton, Ohio.   Here he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1860.


In April, 1861, he raised Company A, Nineteenth Ohio Infantry Volunteers, and subsequently became major of that regiment, and lieutenant-colonel after the battle of Shiloh, and colonel after the battle of Stone River, in January, 1863.


He was made brevet brigadier-general in February, 1865, but resigned from the service, on account of wounds, in April, 1865.


General Manderson removed to Omaha, in 1867, continuing his law practice.  He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1871 and 1875.


In 1882 he was elected to the United States Senate to succeed Charles H. Van Wyck.


He was re-elected in 1888 and is still serving the people of the State in the Senate.


Charles H. Van Wyck

Was born and grew to manhood in the State of New York.


He represented the State in Congress for several terms, after which he moved to Nebraska, locating in Otoe County.


He has represented the people of Otoe County in the Legislature several terms, and in 1880 was elected to the United States Senate to succeed Algernon S. Paddock.


He championed the antimonopoly cause during his term of office.


In 1886 he was a candidate for re-election, but was defeated by his former opponent, A. S. Paddock, after one of the hottest political contests ever witnessed in the State.


James Laird

For six years member of Congress from the Second Congressional district of Nebraska, was born at Fowlerville, New York, on June 20. 1849.


While be was yet a child his parents removed to Michigan.   He had received a good academic education before the breaking out of the war, and on July 24, 1862, entered the service as a private in Company G, Sixteenth Michigan Infantry, in which regiment he served during the war.


After serving in the ranks two years, he was several times promoted and reached the rank of brevet-major before he was seventeen years of age.    Two of his older brothers entered the service at the same time, and both were killed in action.


Mr. Laird was engaged in all the battles of the Potomac except when disabled by wounds received in action.   


He received several severe wounds at Gaines Mill, was shot through the body and left for dead.


He was twice wounded at Gettysburg, and at Laurel Hill received a saber thrust through the right shoulder; had his horse shot from under him at Hatch's Run, and was wounded in the ankle.


All his promotions were received for service.  He was, upon several occasions, mentioned in general orders for bravery and conduct.


After the war he received a good education at Adrian College and the University of Michigan, graduating from the law school of that institution as a law student in 1871.


In 1872 he emigrated to this county and commenced the practice of law.   His first public service in this State was in 1875, when he was elected a member of the constitutional convention.


In 1880, after the taking of the census, the State of Nebraska was re-districted and three Congressional districts organized.


In 1882 Mr. Laird was elected to the XLVIIIth Congress and re-elected in 1884-86-88.


 This district embraces twenty-five counties.  The demands of so largo a district impose an arduous duty upon its member, but Mr. Laird has been able to meet all demands made upon him.


It has been noticed of late years that many of the younger members of the House, have shown more good sense in the framing of laws than some of their older colleagues are willing to give them credit for.   Among this class of young statesmen was Hon. James Laird.


In the XLVIlIth Congress, as member of the committee on military affairs, he displayed great zeal in the interest of ex-Union soldiers in his efforts to secure them back pay and bounty.    He  championed the rights of settlers on the public lands in the West, and more especially in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.


In the season of 1885-86 he was active in behalf of the working men throughout the country, and as a member of the military committee of the House, rendered valuable service in behalf of his comrades.  The debate over the bill for relief of certain officers and soldiers of the volunteer army was led by himself, and was considered remarkable in the House.


The bill carried relief to veteran soldiers who were promoted from the ranks after re-enlistment, and also bounty to the privates who were discharged prior to two years service and not on account of wounds.


The Southern members, after filibustering over this measure until nearly morning, offered to allow the bill to pass, giving relief to the officers, if Mr. Laird would permit them to strike out that portion of carrying the benefits to the private soldiers.  This Mr. Laird emphatically refused to do and the bill was defeated.


Mr. Laird was always regarded as a good parliamentary debater, an d a hard worker. During the hours of session he was always found in his seat unless occupied with committee work.


His course in Congress was most creditable to him­self and the State of Nebraska. At each re-election he was returned to Congress with a large and in­creased majority. He was becoming strong and influential with his party in the House, and would soon have become one of the foremost men in Congress had not death ended his career while he was in the prime of life.


During his last term in Congress his arduous labors undermined his health. Every effort was made by his friends to restore his health, and the best medical talent in the United States was called into service; but his usually robust constitution had received too great a shock, and on Saturday morning, August 17. 1889, the breath of life left his long suffering frame, and James Laird was at rest


He was buried in Parkview Cemetery at Hastings. Nebraska, on August 19, 1889, with the most imposing funeral rites ever witnessed in Nebraska.


Hon. T. M. Marquette 

 Nebraska's first Congressman, came to Nebraska in 1856 and located at Plattsmouth.


He commenced the practice of law in 1857, and took an active interest in politics


He represented Cass County in the Territorial Legislature in 1857, 1858 and 1859.


In 1860 he was elected to the Council, and held that position four years, declining a fifth nomination.


Upon the admission of the State he was elected to represent Nebraska in Congress.     His term of office expired  two days after he had taken his seat, and he declined re-election.


He has been the general attorney for the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad ever since that road was built into the State.


His home is at Lincoln.


Hon. Lorenzo Crounse 

 Represented Nebraska in Congress from 1872 to 1876.



He was born in New fork State on January 27, 1834.


He received his education in that State, and was admitted to the bar in 1856.

He continued in the practice of his profession until 1865, when he removed to Nebraska, settling in Richardson County.


He was elected from the latter county to the Territorial Legislature in the fall of 1856, and served one term.

He helped frame the first constitution of the State, and advocated its adoption.


In May, 1866, he was unanimously nominated for associate justice of the Supreme Court, and was elected in June of the same year.


He held the office for the full term of six years, and at the expiration of his term was elected to represent his State in Congress.


At the completion of his service of four years in Congress he was appointed internal revenue collector for the State, holding the position for a number of years.


Hon. John A. McShane 

Who represented Nebraska in Congress from 1887 to 1889, was born in New Lexington, Perry County, Ohio, August 25, 1850.


He lived in that State until 1874, when he removed to Nebraska.


He engaged extensively in the cattle industry, and amassed a comfortable competency.


He was elected to Congress on the Democratic ticket in 1887, and held his seat for one term. 


Hon. William J. Connell  

Was born at Cowansville, Canada, July 6, 1846, and removed to New York in 1857, where he received an academic education.


In 1867 he came to Omaha, Nebraska, where he has since resided.


He was admitted to the practice of law in 1869,  and has been engaged in his profession since that date.


In 1872 he was elected district attorney of the Third judicial district, and re-elected in 1883, and held that position until 1887.


In 1889 he was elected to the List Congress as a Republican.


Hon. Gilbert Lafayette Laws

Was born in Richland County, Illinois, on March 11, 1838; removed with his parents to Wisconsin in 1846, where he received his schooling, completing his education at Haskell University and Milton College. 


Leaving college, he taught school until the breaking out of the Rebellion, when he enlisted in the Fifth Infantry, Wisconsin Volunteers.


At the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, on May 5, 1862, he received wounds which incapacitated him from active service. 


He returned to Wisconsin, where he resided until 1876, when he moved to Orleans, Nebraska, and assumed editorial management of the Republican Valley  Sentinel.


In 1881 he was appointed register of the United States land office at McCook, and served in that capacity until 1886, when he was elected secretary of State.


He was re-elected in 1888, but resigned in 1889 to accept a seat in Congress.


Hon. George W. E. Dorsey 

Of Fremont, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia., January 25, 1842.


He received his education in Preston County, West Virginia., and entered the Union army in 1861, as first-lieutenant of the Sixth West Virginia Infantry; was promoted to the rank of captain and of major, and was mustered out of service with the Army of the Shenandoah, in August, 1865.


He removed to Nebraska in 1866, studied law and was admitted to practice in 1869; has engaged in the banking business for the past ten years; was elected to the XLIXth, Lth and LIst Congresses, and still occupies his position.


Jolm M. Thurston 

General solicitor of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and one of the leading members of Nebraska's legal profession, was born at Montpelier, Vermont, August 21, 1847.


He moved to Wisconsin in 1854 and received his education and was admitted to the bar in that State.


Removed to Omaha in 1869.   Being a close student, a profound thinker and a brilliant orator, he rose rapidly in his profession.   Held the position of city attorney of Omaha from 1874 to 1877, serving one term in the State Legislature in the meantime.


In 1877 he resigned his city attorney ship to accept the position of assistant general solicitor of the Union Pacific Railway Company.


In 1888 he succeeded A. J. Poppleton as general solicitor, a position which he still holds.    He was elected a presidential elector in 1880.


In 1888 he was delegate to the National Republican convention and was elected temporary chairman.


In the year 1889 he was elected president of the National Republican League.


Hon. 0. P. Mason 

The first chief justice of Nebraska after the admission of the State, was born in May, 1829, in Madison County, New York, and made that State his home until 1852.


He was admitted to the bar in the State of Ohio in 1854, and came to Nebraska the following year, making his residence at Nebraska City.


He served in the Territorial Legislature for eight years, and in 1868 was elected chief justice, an office which he held until 1872.


Since his retirement from the bench Judge Mason has practiced his profession and holds a high rank among the lawyers in the State.


He is at present one of the secretaries of the State railroad commission.


J. Sterling Morton 

At one time Territorial Secretary and acting governor of Nebraska, was born in Jefferson County, New York, April 22, 1832.


He moved to Michigan where he graduated from the State University, at Ann Arbor.


He subsequently took a post graduate course at Union College of New York.


He came to Nebraska in November, 1854, and assumed editorial management of the Nebraska City News. 

In 1855 he was elected to the Territorial Legislature.


In 1838 he was appointed Territorial Secretary and became acting governor within a few months by the resignation of Governor Richardson. 


He was the first democratic candidate for governor of the State and was defeated by but a few votes. 


He has been prominently identified with State and National politics, an  is a member of the famous Cobden Club, of London.


Hon. Amasa Cobb 

Ex-justice of the Supreme Court of Nebraska, was born in Crawford County, Illinois, September 27, 1823, and resided in that State until 1841, when he revoked to Wisconsin.

In 1847 he enlisted for the Mexican War.  At  the close of the war he returned to Wisconsin and continued the practice of law until the opening of the Civil War, when her recruited a regiment and was its colonel.

In the fall of 1862 he was elected a member of Congress, but remained with his regiment a greater portion of the time.

He was re-elected to Congress in 1864, and again in 1866 and 1868.

In 1869 he removed to Nebraska and continued in his profession.

 He was elected to the Supreme Bench in 1878 and served two terms.


George B. Lake 

The second Chief Justice of Nebraska, was born in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York, September 15, 1826


His only schooling during his minority was in the district schools of Ohio; but after he reached his majority he took a two years’ course at Oberlin College. 


He commenced the study of law in 1849, and was admitted to the bar in 1851.


He came to Omaha in 1857 and at once assumed a high place in the ranks of the attorneys of the Territory.


He served in the Territorial Legislature and was speaker of the House in 1865.


In 1867 he took his place on the Supreme Bench, to which he had been elected the year previously.


He became Chief Justice in 1873, and held the position until 1878.




 History of Nebraska